Chanterelle Picking in Sweden

It’s that time of year, when the leaves are giving way to fall breezes and the wind is picking up.

But before winter comes to Sweden, there’s one very special things Swedes do; pick chanterelles {kantareller}.

From July to late September, the forests of Sweden are full of golden, delicious little mushrooms. Fry them in butter, throw them in a sauce, eat them straight, there’s noting better than fresh, hand picked chanterelles. Except for maybe blackberries.

I haven’t gone out to pick mushrooms since for one, we’re carless in Stockholm and two, we don’t have a ‘spot.’ Instead, I asked my girlfriend, M, for tips on picking mushrooms.

Tips on picking Chanterelles
1. Have kids with you, or short people. Seriously! You don’t have to stand like a hunchback the whole time you’re picking.

2. Chanterelles are found in group on the forest floor. If you find one, stop! You are going to find a lot more where you are.

3. Don’t reveal your chantarelle place to anyone! If you need to bring an outsider, blindfold them so they can’t find their way back. We take our chanterelle hunting seriously.

4. Make sure you pick the right ones. Watch out for the false chanterelle and jack-o-lantern. The former is edible but not tasty, the latter is a light poison and will give you a stomach ache for a couple days.

Jack-o-lanterns grow clumped together at the base of trees while chanterelles grow as individual mushrooms on the forest floor. Plus, jack-o-lanterns are bioluminescent, that is they glow in the dark.

A bunch of jack-o-lantern mushrooms. Photo by Hathaway’s Virtual Trail.

5. If you find yourself picking chanterelles by some other mushroom pickers in the same area, walk the other way. If you steal someone else’s mushroom place they will hit you, or something like that. It’s strictly forbidden to poach onto someone else’s area.

6. Study your mushrooms. There are other really good mushrooms other than chanterelles that you can pick. Stolt fjällskivling {parasol mushroom} is huge and very tasty.

A parasol mushroom. This one was 30cm in diameter! {Photo by A}

7. Clean them as you pick, preferably with a mushroom knife with a little brush on the end. Or, hire someone to clean the mushroom for you, it’s not fun to clean when you have picked 5+ kg. Hey kids, wanna clean?

8. Use a scissor to pick the mushroom. This leaves the root in the ground for more chanterelles to grow. And leave the area you hunt undisturbed. Nature’s beautiful, don’t turn it into a dump.

9. Don’t pick the small ones, leave them for other pickers to pick when they are fully grown, or, cover them with branches and come back a week or two later and pick them yourself.

10. Once you are back home, fry some up right away in butter, add some salt and eat them on bread or just as they are.

Bargaining at Hötorgets Market

I love going to Hötorget’s fruit and flower market. It’s located in the big square near Stockholm central station on the side of Sergel Torgs. Hötorget is filled with small stalls with men, usually Arab and hilarious, selling strawberries, asparagus, and the latest bouquet of roses.

The open air market is my favorite spot because you can buy in-season fresh produce for cheap. Sometimes you can buy at half price of what you would pay at the local ICA. The guys working in the stalls will let you taste the food and most importantly, let you bargain.

Bargain, bargain, bargain, that’s how they work. Remember they’re mainly Arabs and their market system, like the Indian market system, is based on bargaining.

DN covered how bargaining works; which I think for many Swedes is mysterious. The only places I have seen in Sweden where I can bargain are places run by immigrants. No wonder there had to be an article on how bargaining works.

I am not the best bargain person – I just cannot haggle the way my aunts can in India and still walk away from what appears to be a good deal only to find that the shopkeepers cuts the price another 20%. Crazy! And then the deal is made.

For those of you like me, who aren’t the best bargainers or don’t know how, here is how to do it. Hötorgets market or anywhere:

1. The morning time and lunch time mark the highest prices for produce and flowers. This is when shoppers don’t have the time to bargain hunt so they buy and go. Produce in the morning is also the freshest since pickups occur early morning from the wholesale markets.

You won’t get much of bargain at this time but if you buy several items, you should be able to shave at least 10% of your total cost.

2. By late afternoon, shopkeepers intensify their battle with each and begin cutting prices. For the most part, these are cartels, they already know what prices to drop to and eventually all stalls drop to that price.

Your goal is to push them a bit further. Four boxes of strawberries for 50Kr? Make that five boxes for 50kr.

3. At 5PM, the markets will begin to close at Hötorget. They have to unload fast if they don’t want to pack things up or throw them away. Very delicates fruits, vegetables, and flowers will not survive to the next and must be sold.

Prices will further drop when buying in bulk: three bouquets of roses, 400 grams of cherries, 5 boxes of berries, etc.

You need to squeeze another box or cut the price another 20% to whatever your shopkeeper tells you.

If he tells you “no way!” then walk away. It’s all good, he will either not care to bargain or chase you and take your offer. If it is the former, then go to another and bargain the prices you want.

Whatever you Swedes do, you should bargain at the market. And you should go to Hötorget and buy fresh produce from them when possible. Because it is awesome and supports small folks and it is fun way to shop.

And for you Swedes with that look of aghast of buying produce on the street, get real. Street shopping is done all around the world and just because the food isn’t neatly packed on the shelf or sold at a saluhall, doesn’t mean it is any less delicious.

Oh, and women will fare the best at bargaining. Because we can totally bat our eyes and look stupid so a seller takes pity on us.

A Call to Bloggers in Sweden – Join the Lost in Sweden Moosletter!

Hej bloggarna!

I’m really excited to announce a new project I have been working on to make life and visiting Sweden more awesome.

Drumroll please…


It’s called the Lost in Sweden Moosleter. I know there are so many of you fantastic bloggers out there. But, it’s hard keeping track of everyone and following through easily from Google reader or blogrolls. Plus for those just wanting to get emails, getting 100 latest blog posts from bloggers is hard to digest.

The Lost in Sweden Moosletter will be a monthly newsletter with excerpts and photos from bloggers who write about Sweden. It’s awesome because you get the best of what’s happening in Sweden by real bloggers.

Bloggers get the advantage of increasing their traffic through a collective newsletter. Everybody loves visitors <3 Joining as a blogger is SUPER easy:
1. Be a blogger that writes about Sweden on a regular basis. You don’t have to be in Sweden, you just have to write *about* Sweden.

2. You can write in any language! If it is not English, put a Google Translate button on your site so visitors can easily translate to their native language.

3. Add the badge below to your sidebar on your blog so that everyone knows you’re part of the network.

You can right click “save as” and resize the image to fit your sidebar.

You MUST also link to this blog post so people can get more information about the newsletter.

If you don’t add a badge and link up, you can’t be part of the newsletter. Sorry. :( But seriously, it’s super easy to add the image and link up and become a part of Swedish history!

4. For bloggers wanting to put the signup box on their site, comment below and I will email you the code.


Readers, sign up for the newsletter!

You can sign up right below.

5. Spread the word! I’m super-über-jätte excited to send out the first newsletter in mid-June.

Participating Bloggers

Swede and Sour Kitchen
Photos from Sweden
Swedish Freak
Something Swedish
Monkey Goes to Sweden
Vermont to China
Stockholm Globetrotter
Now Boarding
Lost in Stockholm

Walking/Jogging Routes in Stockholm

One of the best perks of living in Stockholm is walking around the city. There are so many islands and little walkways to enjoy the scenery of the water and the city.

I began jogging in an attempt to lose the Christmas-Easter holiday weight. Thus far, I haven’t lost anything but that could be because of the kanelbullar.

The best place that had maps was The Swedish Heart and Lung Society {Hjärt- & Lungskukas Riksförbund}. They have a collection of running trails they recommend throughout Sweden. You can pick any city in Sweden and get a map.

Here are few maps I love in the Stockholm area.

Kungsholmen island tour

Södermalm – the hipster route

Djurgården-Brunnviken border route

Lidingö – the bougie route

Sundybyberg – Solna – the double lake route

The Five Island run – a run through Södermalm, Liljeholmen, Stora Essingen, Lilla Essingen, Kungsholmen, and Långholmen

View Five Island Stockholm Run in a larger map

If you have a favorite map, link up below and I will embed it in the post.

Now time to get my feet dancing and ready for bikini time on the strand!

Danny Loses Melodivestivalen Title to a Girl with Creepy Guy Rolling Around & Hugging Her

Saturday night was the holy event of Melodiefestivalen. It was in this final episode of the myriad of Melodivestivalen shows that actually determined who will go to the Eurovision Song Contest.

With over 4 million people watching in a country of 9.4 million, there was no way escaping Saturday night unscathed from the event.

And Danny Saucedo (pronounced Sau-ce-do not Sauce-Do), lost. Again. He came in second place again after losing last year’s title to unknown boy called Eric Saade.

According to the tabloid Aftonbladet, Danny was seen running out after the show and being a “sore loser.” Losing two years in a row in extremely close races, does earn the man the right to cry his heart our.

Poor Saucedo. His song, Amazing, really wasn’t amazing enough to win against Euphoria by Loreen. She won 268 points to his 198 points.

I thought Danny’s Tron-style act was fun and memorable. His song was catchy with a touch of Schalger.

Loreen has an amazing voice. It’s reminiscient of Celine Dion and at any moment, she just might break out into My Heart Will Go On. Unfortunately, Loreen’s act was borderline psychofrenic. Rapid arm movements in no particular direction, running from one side of the stage to another with arms flaying in the air, and the most bizarre backup dancer yet to be seen: a black man rolling around and then hugging her from behind.

Doesn’t he look he’s going to do something very very bad??

Borderline molesting her while arms are flapping around, euphoria is in all the wrong places.

For yet another year, Sweden is sending something of a joke. Loreen’s great but not memorable and if she continues with the current choreography, people just may wonder what Swedes have in the water supply.

Next time Danny, next time.

10 Favorite Posts About Sweden {Around the Internets}

Here’s my list of ten fun posts to ready by bloggers and journalists around the interwebs.


Snuskhummer – The Filthy lobster
The Swedish language is colorful! About the Swedes love for smashing nouns together.
by OhioGirl at Tales of Södermalm

I’m so excited…!
A witty, costume expert Abby, gets engaged to a Swede. She fell in love, moved to Sweden, moved back to America, Swedo visited, and blushingly proposed. Another good AWWWWWWWW piece.
By Abby at Stay-ing Alive

When a Swede is in India…
The iconic Hairy Swede writes a post about being molested in Mumbai while taking the commuter train with our friends. And this was during the week of my wedding. Rest assured Hairy Swede brought his awesomeness in full force. PS – I’m still waiting for a non-molesting post about India for me. =)
By Hairy Swede at A Swedish American in Swedish America

Overcoming the difficulties of Swedish
How to deal with learning Swedish and failing to learn Swedish when you are in Sweden. Tips and advice provided to improve your chances of knowing the language.
By Missfoster at Swedish Freak

Good Eats in Gothenburg
Hand picked by Joy, a foodie, she lists a few great eateries in Göteborg.
By Joy at Home and Away

Snowy New Year’s Eve
This blog by Swedish-American Desiree, is a veritable food and landscape porn blog. She takes beautiful photos! But my favorite is from her New Year’s Eve, spent in northern Sweden in the winter wonderland.
By Desiree at Sweet Home Sweden

Food, food, food
Okay not entirely about Sweden but Cat in the Kitchen and Anne’s Food cover the culinary delight of foodies. Two of my favorite recipes are the raspberry cheesecake brownies with homemade kesella by Dagmar and Anne’s Swedish pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies).
Dagmar at Cat in the Kitchen
Anne at Anne’s Food

To do right is not an easy path
The generousities of the Swedish government’s asylum policies have saved thousands of people from war and death in their homelands. But, has the government done right by bringing them all here? Have the immigrants failed to integrate due to policy or culture? How will Sweden move towards assimilation in the future?
By Suzanne Daley at The New York Times

Mushroom Picking – To die or not to die…that is not the question!
Cute article about picking the wildly famous mushroom, Chanterelle. Though, a blog that say it is more fun than bunnies is hard to believe since our fuzzballs are awesome.
By Kate at Transatlantic Sketches.

Fun things to do in Lund … Seriously!
In Lund? Shitty weather? Then read ten things on what to do on a rainy day in Lund, because it rains a lot and you need this.
By The four girls at Experience Lund

There you go! I should more of these since there are such great posts written in the blogosphere. I’m just too lazy though.

A Call to All Awesome Bloggers in Sweden

Update, May 9th 2012: I started a Lost in Sweden Moosletter. It’s a monthly newsletter that has content from all around the Swedish blogosphere. Be sure to join it fellow bloggers. The first newsletter will go out mid June 2012.

Hey bloggers! And bloggarna?

I am updating my Blogroll and want to include all of you awesome folks.   Your only requirement is that your blog is about Sweden in some way.

Topics to love…and hate:

  • Fashion
  • Design
  • Food
  • Beer
  • Dating
  • Life
  • Babies
  • Feminism
  • Bantering
  • Travel

Your blog need not be in English or Swedish either as there are many great writers in Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and German that I’ve stumbled across.  You don’t have to be in Sweden either.

Post your link and a blurb about your website and I will update my blogroll and publish an Awesome Bloggers List soon. And do add Lost in Stockholm to your blogroll if you haven’t already. :-)

Average Salaries in Sweden by Occupation

Swedish salaries on the whole, are lower than other countries. In Sweden, salaries are more evenly spread between professions compared to the other countries, especially the US & UK, when there is a wide range in earnings between blue-collar to CEO/doctor levels.

Here’s a quick look at monthly salaries for most major professions. In Sweden, employees sign up for a monthly salary rather than yearly salary.  These are based upon several years experience.  Discount heavily if you are a new graduate in the field.

Occupation          Monthly Salary in SEK (2010)
Veterinarian                               50,600
Dentists                                       50,600
Doctors                                        50,600
Pilot                                             48,200
Lawyer                                        40,700
Civil economist                          38,600
Computer Programmer           38,400
Master                                         38,000
Researcher                                 35,600
Brokers                                         34,700
Journalist                                    32,100
Author                                          32,100
IT professionals                         30,400
Psychologist                                28,000
Nurse                                             27,800
Secondary school teachers      27,300
Opticians                                     26,200
Primary school teachers          25,700
HVAC technician                      24,700
Painter                                          23,600
Tailors                                          21,600
Stockman                                    20,200

You can see that doctors and lawyers are not that much better off than an experienced programmer or pilot. There are no $200,000 incomes for doctors or lawyers in Sweden so if you expect that kind of money, don’t move here.

Despite average wages, cost of living is relatively high, especially in Stockholm. You can still achieve a high rate of savings by avoiding car ownership and living with a partner.

In addition, high unemployment amongst the youth population is persistent despite lower restrictions on hiring and terminations. Youth are those between 18-25 years of age. If you are college educated or have previous work experience, your chance of finding a job is far easier.

LO, Landsorganisationen i Sverige, the Swedish trade union confederation, ran a study regarding expectations of salaries and reality. The findings were markedly Swedish in that, respondents expected evenly distributed salaries amongst occupations.
Occupation              Expected Monthly Income           Real Monthly Income
Cashier                      22,800                                                20,400
Assistant                   25,200                                                21,600
Industry worker      25,700                                                24,100
Electrician               26,800                                                26,600
Teacher                     27,700                                                26,000
Nurse                         29,000                                               25,600
Engineer                   32,600                                               39,100
Sales Boss                35,700                                               54,600
Doctor                      39,000                                                52,800
Director of a large company 97,000                             969,800
Numbers are in 2010 SEK (kronor) via DN and LO.

Of course, not everything is equal in Sweden, especially when you reach the director/executive level positions. There, you can expect American salaries and perks with your position.

The resources below should help you if you are negotiating salaries. Be aware of salary differences between cities, gender, and experience.
LO –
Lönestatistik – based on user submission; hit or miss for many occupations –

Lost and Found {Hittegods} in Stockholm

Left my purse on the bus, I think, after being so excited and hopped off. Called SL already and left a note with them. *Maybe* there’s a good Samaritan.

Will have to wait until Monday to call Stockholm’s Polis Hittegods. Why work on the weekends?!

I feel really really stupid and angry with myself. It didn’t have much in there but still I hate myself for losing it.

And I feel like a moron. Did I already mention that?

By the way, if you also had back luck and lost/left stuff around the city, here’s important lost and found (hittagods) information for Stockholm:
Telephone: 010-56 33610 (I don’t know if the Police know their own numbers. I called it 27 times and it always is busy. Am unsure if it’s the right/real phone number)
Telephone Times
Måndag 13:00-16:00
Tisdag-onsdag 13:00-15:00
Torsdag stängt
Fredag 13:00-15:00
For a full listing –
Bergsgatan 54, Stockholm
Lost and Found Center Opening Hours
Måndag – Onsdag 10:00 – 15:00
Torsdag 10:00 – 19:00
Fredag 10:00 – 15:00*

SL (Tunnelbanan – Metro – Pendaltåg)
Telefon: 08-600 10 00
Fax: 08-686 26 59
Klara Östra kyrkogata 6 (near T-Centralen)
Måndagar: 8-19
Tis-fredagar: 8-17
Lördagar: 8-14
Söndagar och helgdagar: stängt

SJ (National Rail)
Telefon: Tel: 08-501 255 90
Centralstation (main floor – Bagport Sweden AB – hittegodskontor)

And if you did lost stuff, big hugs, there’s nothing worse when you lose part of your identity (or brain).